Friday, December 21, 2012

Kids serving Kids

December 13, 2012

Dear Sweet Sleep,

We are thrilled to able to send you the enclosed check for $2,643.00 towards the purchase of mosquito nets for children around the world.

During our Fall Semester here at First Hurst, our 3 year olds-6th graders participate in Missions Programs: Mission Friends (for preschoolers), Girls in Grace (for 1-6th grade girls) and BiG DawGs (for 1-6th grade boys).  Our desire is to disciple kids in their walk with Christ, and to help them discover the unique gifts and talents God has given them.  We then teach them of local and global missions and encourage them to begin using those gifts to serve God by serving others.

Each year, we have an event to help raise funds for missions.  After attending Centrikid Camp last year, and learning about Sweet Sleep, we knew that this was something we wanted our kids to participate in.   We promoted the Nickels for Nets program and the kids were very excited about it.  Our grade school aged kids asked people to sponsor them in one of two events:  Walking or running laps around the park or shooting hoops.   Our preschoolers participated by bringing a nickel to class each week, and then walking with us at the Nickels for Nets event.  On October 28, our kids completed their mission by walking and shooting hoops.  They then collected their pledges which were enough to provide almost 320 nets!

We hope that you are blessed by the efforts of our kids, but we pray that the money will bless the lives of those kids who receive the mosquito nets!  May they hear the gospel message and may their lives be impacted for eternity!

Thanks for your ministry.  Thank you for the opportunity to partner with you in blessing kids around the world!

To God be the glory!

God bless,

Deni Morrow
Children’s Pastor
FBC Hurst

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Valuable Gift?

As Christmas sneaks up, peeking around the corner, it can be too easy to lose sight of the caliber of that special day we all celebrate.  Do we choose to look at this "holiday" as one to fill up stocking, boxes, and endless wrapping paper with gifts of some form value? Do we choose to stress over a gift to fill some form of expectation from a loved one? What form of value do these gifts hold that we give?

Thinking back to this day thousands of years ago, to this child--the Messiah, the gifts that were brought and the reason for those gifts--this was the Son of God! The gifts were brought in honor and in celebration of this life that would change this world we live in forever.  These gifts were brought with love, respect, and humbleness toward this child. 

This Christmas would you commit to giving a different kind of gift. One of a different kind of value than are culture finds valuable. One that will change a life and humble you and loved ones.

Here at Sweet Sleep, we long to provide not only a bed for every head, but with each bed comes a bible bringing them the Word of God.  Your gifts to Sweet Sleep hold great value and purpose and thanks to you, children's lives are changed forever--giving them a bed to call their own and the Holy Bible, holding more value than any other present can contain.

By Giving the Gift of Sweet Sleep this Christmas in honor of a loved one, you are not only changing the life of a child, but you are helping to educate and open the eyes of family and friends to the mission of Sweet Sleep.  Your gift can be of any amount you'd like and in honor of as many loved ones as you'd like.  Each card comes with an enclosed magnet so that your recipient(s) will have a reminder of your gift to place somewhere special.  We are so grateful for your gifts and for your willingness to share the mission of Sweet Sleep with others.

The only way that Sweet Sleep continues to provide beds to the world's orphaned and abandoned children, is through your generous gifts.  Why not Give the Gift of Sweet Sleep this Christmas and have your boxes, wrapping paper, and stocking filled with a gift of love, joy, hope, peace, and most importantly rest for a child in need. So simple and life-changing.

Give the Gift>>>

-the Sweet Sleep team

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What A Night!

On Friday, September, 28, 20 students and 5 adults, gathered for a night under the stars. The only items we allowed students to bring were a Bible, a flashlight, and a sheet. Students could not bring cell phones, blankets/comforters, pillows, or other electronic devices. A member of our church provided the boxes.

To get the night started, we watched a video, provided by Sweet Sleep, explaining what the night was about. Then we proceeded to play a couple of games, in hopes the students would expend their energy -  we played Elimination Dodgeballl and had a Pillow Dueling (ironic, since they could not have pillows; believe me, they were locked away after the game was over). After game time, walked around the outside of the church to the other side of the church to pick up our boxes. Each one of us took our boxes to the back parking lot of the church; our final destination. Before we settled down for the evening, we had a time of worship, individual quiet time, and snacks.

 For snacks, the students had to walk around the outside of the church again. When we arrived at our destination, we feasted on saltine crackers, peanut butter, and tap water. We spared no expense when it came to snacks! After snack time, we all walked back to "camp" to settle down for the evening. By this time, it was about Midnight.

Sleeping on a cardboard box, and only having a sheet, when it was cold was a challenge. Throughout the night, I kept waking up, as I was sliding off of my box. I must have slept better than I thought because I had students who would come up to me and ask if they could go to the restroom - we did let them go to the bathroom inside the church; however, from what others have said,  I did not wake up to acknowledge these students. At one point I woke up - I think it was about 3 am - and it was foggy and the dew was getting heavy as it was falling on my sheet. I was excited to see 6:00 am come.

After we awoke, at least those who slept thru the night, we had our morning quiet time. We concluded with a time of debriefing for the purpose of seeing what the students' experience was like and how did God use this in their lives. We did not serve breakfast!

This was a great event for our students. It gave them a dose of reality. This night enabled them to see how a vast majority of children live each day throughout the world. It challenged them to think about the comforts and conveniences they have compared to what little, if any, comforts and conveniences most children have throughout the world. It enabled them to see how blessed they were and how could be a blessing to others!

As a result of this event, our students raised about $1100 and our church is going to match what our students raised. As a result, over 40 children in northern Uganda will receive bed kits.

Thank you Sweet Sleep for giving our students this opportunity! What a night to remember!

Dwayne Abrahamson
Minister to Students
Red House Baptist Church
Richmond, KY  40475

Monday, December 17, 2012

Board Steps up 18%

The Sweet Sleep Board of Directors recently made their pledges for the year, raising their level of commitment by 18% over the previous year. 

Board Chair, David Ward says: " We have such a great Board who is working hard to explain this ministry.  Every Board member is committed to "giving" and "getting." They each give personally, and then use their time, talents, and influence to encourage others to support orphans around the world."  
Would you consider stepping up your commitment to be an even stronger supporter of orphaned and abandoned children in 2013?  If you would like to learn more about Sweet Sleep or would be willing to introduce us to your church staff, Sunday School class, civic group, business contacts,  friends, or colleagues, let us know by calling Shayla (ext.22), Dustin (ext.23), or any of our leadership team at (615) 730-7671.  

Won't you join our Board by "stepping it up" in 2013? YOU make a difference in a child's life!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Give the Gift

Give the Gift

Did you know that a bed can literally change the life of a child? Having a place to rest their head helps to not only improve their quailty of sleep, but help them focus better in school, keep them off the floor (where diseases may be more easily contracted), and helps them physically by providing support for their bodies.   
By Giving the Gift of Sweet Sleep this Christmas in honor of a loved one, you give the gift of a bed, bible, and life-saving mosquito net to an orphaned or abandoned child in the recipients' name. The recipient will then receive the card( pictured) along with a magnet enclosed to remember that your gift has changed a life!  

  • $8 provides a mosquito net to orphans in Africa or Haiti.
  • $10 provides a Bible to an orphan in his or her language.
  • $50 provides a bed and bedding for orphan resettlement kits in northern Uganda.
  • $125 provides a healthy, comfortable new Sweet Sleep bed for a child in Africa.
  • $167 provides a complete Sweet Sleep bed for an orphan in Haiti.
  • $200 provides a comfy Sweet Sleep bed for a Moldovan orphan.
 Give the Gift here>>>

Thank you for giving the gift of Sweet Sleep a loved one this Christmas! Lives are being changed thanks to generous gifts like yours, and you are helping to share the mission of Sweet Sleep by Giving the Gift! 

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!

-the Sweet Sleep Team

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Jens Pen December 2012

Hello sweet friends!

I'm writing to you from Uganda as Madelene, our Global Ministry Director,and I begin rounding up our very own journey!  What a wonderful and humbling time it has been to learn more about how Sweet Sleep can better serve and expand God's kingdom through something as simple as a bed!  I want to thank you for making expansion and growth possible through your gifts of prayer and giving! You are such a key part of our story and we are so grateful for your support and partnership!

Our journey began November 27th as we took off to Ethiopia.  The Lord blessed us with the incredible opportunity to talk with the president of Ethiopia and learn more of how Sweet Sleep can best serve his country.

December 1st was World Aids Day. There are an estimated 2 million people living in Ethiopia with HIV/AIDS (54.5% are women women and 96,000 are children under 15). We attended an AIDS conference to learn more about caring for this extremely vulnerable population. Would you join me in prayer for the fight against the AIDS epidemic in Ethiopia? For more photos and stories from our time in Ethiopia click here.

Next on our journey was Uganda where we landed a few short days ago!  To kick things off, Josephine, Madelene and I were interviewed on the radio show, "Women's Voice" on The Alpha FM, speaking to their 1.5 million listeners and raise awareness and advocate for the orphan.
A few days back I stood in what used to be an IDP camp for 15,000 people from the Northern Uganda area of Kitgum, Uganda as Sweet Sleep gave beds, Bibles, mosquito nets and water to 100 children. As I handed a little one a mosquito net, I was overcome with gratitude for what God has called me to do for the last ten years. Thank you for making it possible to share this kind of love with the most needy and vulnerable. I am forever humbled and grateful and eternally blessed because of what we do together.
See more of our journey through updates from the Sweet Sleep Facebook, Blog & Twitter!

P.S. As Christmas is just around the corner, and you're wondering what the perfect could be, remember Sweet Sleep! By Giving the Gift this Christmas in honor of a loved one, you are changing the life of a child by providing them with a safe place to rest their head at night. Wishing each of you a very blessed Christmas!

Overwhelming Thanks

Today I stood in what used to be an IDP (internally displaced people) camp for 15,000 people from the northern Uganda area of Kitgum, Uganda as Sweet Sleep gave beds, Bibles, mosquito nets and water to 100 children who are single or double orphans living with aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters or grandmothers. As I shook the hands of each man, woman and child and handed a little one a mosquito net, I was overcome with gratitude for what God has called me to do for the last ten years. Thank you for making it possible to share this kind of love with the most needy and vulnerable. I am forever humbled and grateful and eternally blessed because of what we do together.

Sisters in Christ

Today we spent in deep, deep ministry and fellowship with our Ugandan staff. These two women have shaped the understanding of service and love and compassion for hundreds of team members who have come to this country with Sweet Sleep. Their hearts are pure and their desire to serve God with excellence guides everything they do and say. They have grabbed the hearts of all who have had the blessing to meet them. It is a privelege and honor to sit with and pray over my sisters who, though they live 8,000 miles away, God brought together with me. I love you Josephine Ssebambulide and Auma Jennifer Odong.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Day 1 in Uganda

Ground breaking first day in Uganda. 
  • We were interviewed, as women in ministry who are making a difference in peoples' lives, on a radio station with 1.5 million listeners. 
  • Learned there are 10,000 street kids in Kampala. 
  •  Met with other NGOs (Non Governmental Organization) who are caring for these children in this community. 
  • We've traveled six hours north and have settled in to rest. 
  • Tomorrow we will distribute 100 beds to a brand new partner. 

Sometimes you have to run, just to keep up with God.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Special Thanksgiving

Hello Friends,

This week in Gulu has been an amazing blessing.  As you've been able to read, we have had the opportunity to bless so many children (and their care-givers) with a few items that ultimately played a part in bringing them hope.  With many songs, skits, and exhortation with Scripture this team has been a true blessing to these sweet and needy people. But we were not the only ones handing out blessings on Thursday.

Jennifer and Jospehine had organized an amazing Thanksgiving dinner for us.  They invited the Health Alert Team and a few of the children that have been served by Sweet Sleep in the past.  They poured out blessings to us with gifts, their finest food, amazing words of encouragement and prayers.

I once shared a thanksgiving meal with unexpected families members when I was in the 5th grade.  I was in the hospital for a lengthy period of time and my mom and dad were faithfully enduring (probably with more pain than I was in) that holiday season.  The medical staff and new friends became a brief Thanksgiving family to my family.  This year, my wife and two children were doing their thanksgiving with family back in Texas... without me.  It brings me so much joy to rush back to Texas to my wife and family (and extended family) to tell them the news of my our new family members.  Thanksgiving in Gulu was a serendipitous blessing.

I actually held it all together until Josephine suggest we sing Amazing Grace to close out our night.  I held Chris' hand with my left hand and in my right hand was the hand of a young boy who had recently been given a bed.  Between both of them was an undeserving sinner who was not only saved by amazing grace, but continues to be sustained by it.  I was holding hands with two servants that love Jesus Christ and have chosen to spend their days singing and acting on that love.

Sweet Sleep is truly one of the greatest ministries that I've been a part of.  I do not think I have met two more courageous, compassionate, and hope-filled people than Josephine and Jennifer.  The work in Uganda will be bearing fruit for generations.  To experience this and "taste" just some of this "fruit" has truly been a special thanksgiving for me.

Thank YOU for reading and supporting this work!

Embracing and Exalting the majesty of God in all things for the joy all people,
Jason Goings

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Favorite Things

Rolling and packaging mattresses, wrapping mosquito nets, packing mats and bibles in bags, playing volleyball with young moms and teenage girls, dancing, singing, sharing the gospel, children and adults asking to accept Jesus as their Savior, handing out beds,a nd getting to know two precious girls -- Prossy and Consse...These were my favorite things about today. Oh and seing giant oversized bats.

Today our group did not go to a village. Instead we went to the Health Alert center to distribute beds. Health Alert is one of the many organizations that partners with Sweet Sleep. Health Alert primarily works to serve children and adults who are HIV positive. Sweet Sleep primarily serves any child or adult who is especially vulnerable, so it's a perfect connection.

It was incredible how much joy surrounded us at the center. As usual, though there were people who came today to get a bed who had to leave empty handed (Sweet Sleep and Health Alert has everyone register and interviewed before getting a bed) - at distribution sites we have a specific list of names who beds go to. People who hear about the beds and come without being on the list are able to register and get on a future list for a bed. Two pairs of little hands that left without beds to carry were Prossy and Consse. Consse and her younger sister, Prossy, shared with me after playing catch that they had not received beds. I did my best to explain what they could do to get one and asked them to come back tomorrow. We continued to sit tegether drawing pictures of Jesus and each other as I listened to their life story of losing both parents, not being able to afford school fees or food, and how walking all the way from their vilage to only go home empty handed. As my heart broke for them I couldn't help but be amazed at their perserverence and hope. Consse shared so many trials and ways they had suffered, but she couldn't stop smiling or bringing up Jesus somehow in our conversation. Prossy did nothing but smile, giggle, and draw pictures of Jesus and herself. Both of these little girls reminded me of Lucy, a widow who welcomed us into her home on Monday. She had 2 huts that she built herself and takes care of her son along with other orphans. Lucy had never seen or slept on a mmattress before. Now she had one to share with her son and all the children she takes care of. I remember feeling so sad for all she did not have, but humbled that a woman who seemed to have nothing, found ways to still give to orphans.

Our team came to Uganda to share hope and the love of Jesus with people here in Gulu. But each day, I find myself humbled and stretched as children and adults share much more profound hope and incredibly deep love of Jesus with me.

Katie Kautzmann

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Faith without works is dead

Hello again!

On Wednesday and Thursday our distribution sites are actually a little different than before since we will be meeting at the Health Alert office here in Gulu. Health Alert is one of the wonderful partners Sweet Sleep has and is dedicated to serving the 3 northern districts of Uganda to provide the proper medicines, counseling, education, and other services to the amazing people here. The focus has been on providing beds and malaria nets to children who are HIV positive. Some of which are just coming out of "hiding" for the first time so that they can receive these life-saving supplies.

There is still a stigma here (like many other places around the world) about people living with HIV and Health Alert is trying to breakdown that stigma by reaching the community. That's why I think this partnership Sweet Sleep and them have is so wonderful. Sweet Sleep can provide a bed and malaria net which can be a catalyst for people to sign up with Health Alert and begin receiving the medication they need. This is the powerful thing about Sweet Sleep. On the surface it might be "just a bed and net", but that bed and malaria net will protect the child from diseases, which in turn will save the family money that they may have spent on medication and they can now spend on more food, which if a child is healthy and not thinking about being hungry and got a good night's rest, then they will perform better in school. You can begin to see how something we might think of as "simple" act of providing is really changing lives here.

I can't express how welcoming and wonderful everyone has been here. Regardless of how little they might have or how sick they might be there is a genuine joy there and we have seen it everyday in their songs and their smiles and the words they have spoken to us. It is an amazing thing to be a part of and I feel fortunate that I could spend even a short amount of time with each of these people.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends back home!
Kandice Kirby

James 2:14-17
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Hello family and friends.

Let me begin by saying Thank You for your prayers. Our ministry team here in Gulu, Uganda can certainly testify that God is answering your prayers in great ways.

We had the privilege of visiting another village this morning. Jason taught an interactive lesson on Psalm 139 (Fearfully and Wonderful
ly Made)....the kids both learned and enjoyed his presentation. We sang songs with the children, shared the Gospel, and performed a skit highlighting the importance of proper use of malaria nets....the kids laughed and was a Sweet Sound.

After our "program," but before the distribution of beds our team split up into two groups with one group leading out in games and a second group visiting an actual "hut" or dwelling to see the conditions that so many live and sleep in. I had the honor of serving with this second group. It was both humbling and powerful to speak with a family consisting of 6 children living w their mother. This family was so glad to receive their bed, malaria net and most especially a copy of a children's Bible....the oldest child simply could NOT put it down. He was in the Word!

We have two more days of ministry ahead of us in this wonderful and beautiful country. Please continue to pray for our team. We will continue to update as our Wifi system will allow. 
God Bless You & Happy Thanksgiving

Eddie Humphrey

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 1 in Gulu, Uganda

Hello from Uganda!

We had our first full day out in the field and sitting here a few hours later I'm still trying to process all of the amazing things we saw today. We traveled out to the area of Atiak, near the Southern Sudan border. We had the opportunity to visit with and minister to the community there, as well as pass out almost 50 beds to the children of Atiak. We also spent time singing together and playing games with the kids.

Between playing soccer, the parachute game, and attempting duck, duck, goose it was great being able to interact with all the children and hearing them laugh and enjoy the afternoon playing. Afterwards we handed out quilts made by some wonderful women in Fairmont, Minnesota and then gave each child a new bed, malaria net, and bible.

Before we left we had the privilege of seeing one of the child's homes. It was an incredibly moving experience to see where this family slept at night and know that for the first time in their lives they will be able to go to sleep, not on an old straw mat on a dirt floor without any blankets or pillows, but they can sleep soundly knowing they are comfortable, warm, and safe from diseases. As we were setting up his new bed and net, the little boy just kept staring at it and I didn't understand why until someone told me that it was because he had never seen a bed before. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around that thought because most of us take for granted something so simple as a bed, because it has always been there in our lives.

I will never take for granted things like that again though and my prayer is that this child and all the other children will never have to go another day of their lives without knowing something so vital and so important. Here in Uganda a bed and mosquito net are truly life-saving and I want to thank each one of you who donated so that these children are able to for the first time sleep sweetly.

I wish I could describe more fully how God is working in these people's lives and how generous each of them are, even with so little they give so much of themselves. To be able to see how each one of them cares for not just their families, but everyone in the community especially the children, it is the most humbling and awe-inspiring things I've ever been able to experience. I am so incredibly thankful that I was able to come on this trip. Please continue to keep our team in your prayers as we continue on this journey.

Blessings and Love from Uganda,
Kandice Kirby

If you would like to help either by donating, raising funds, or just finding out more about Sweet Sleep please visit their website:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Sweet Sleep Story

We are so excited to introduce you to our dear friend Eddie Humphrey, Minister of Childhood Education of First Baptist of Belton, TX. Eddie was introduced to Sweet Sleep while attending the LifeWay Kids Ministry Conference last fall in Nashville, TN with his wife Kelly.  We’re so thankful Eddie’s Sweet Sleep Journey has just begun!

 “After my introduction to Sweet Sleep last fall, I really sensed that God was calling me and our church to perhaps focus on Sweet Sleep for our upcoming VBS missions offering.  I began praying about that at the conference and then the months to follow.”
For each VBS, the children, families, and teachers are asked to bring offerings to be used towards a good cause of their choice; this year they decided to use Sweet Sleep’s mission project, Build-a-Bed.
“I felt the mission of Sweet Sleep, kids helping kids, would be something that our children would be able to hear and hopefully relate to. 

They chose to have a boys v. girls and weighed the change brought in each morning of VBS on their “Scale of Wonder.”  

“The families and kids responded so graciously this summer. For our church it was the largest VBS offering we’ve ever been a part of! We set different goals, and if we hit $5000 the kids could shave my head on stage; they were able to do just that! (pictured) We felt led to send our money specifically to Gulu, Uganda.  In Gulu it costs $50 per child to receive a bed, malaria net, and bible. $5,000 was raised meaning over 100 beds for the children of Gulu!”
Eddie continued to pray through the summer how their relationship with Sweet Sleep could be a lasting one.  After receiving encouragement from his supervisors and pastoral staff, they decided a mission journey to Gulu, where they could meet the children and work with local ministers, would be an incredible opportunity for them to continue their partnership with Sweet Sleep.

Just so it happened a church from Minnesota was planning a Sweet Sleep mission journey to Gulu on November 16-25!  Eddie and his colleague were invited to join the team on this bed distribution trip to carry their experiences back to their church while deepening their partnership with Sweet Sleep! 

“I’m just elated and very humbled to be a part of this journey.  I look forward to seeing how the Lord will use our team and the power of his spirit.  I’ve had the chance to speak to the team members from Minnesota on a conference call and that was a joy to hear their heart for the Lord and hear how the He has stirred this need in their life as well.  We’re forever grateful for this great body of people in Minnesota to let us jump on their team. 

I’m looking forward to finally arriving and actually being able to meet, shake hands, and hug the necks of the kids—that’s what I’m most excited for.”

Eddie shared that another priority in going to Gulu is to gather pictures and video footage to bring back and share with the children and members of his church.  For next summer, he plans to partner with Sweet Sleep again and incorporate his personal experiences in Gulu into the mission focus of VBS!

Stay updated with Eddie and the team through the Sweet Sleep Blog and Facebook page  as they show God’s love to the the orphaned and abandoned children in Gulu through the provision of beds, bibles, and life-saving mosquito nets!